Gipsy Moth IV received the blessing of both Church and State today at a special service attended by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Earlier today, Sir Francis Chichester’s famous round-the world yachtGipsy Moth IVmoved a step closer to recreating her historic voyage as local vicar Richard Emblin carried out a blessing ceremony. Prince Philip and invited guests stood by at the Cowes-based UK Sailing Academy as the minister blessed the yacht and all who will sail in her, and wished her a safe journey around the world.

Among those in the line up to meet the prince was Paul Gelder, Editor of Yachting Monthly. Yachting Monthly have been involved since the start of the project when Paul launched the campaign to save Gipsy Moth IV to coincide with the magazine’s 100th birthday in 2006.

His Royal Highness was then introduced to the young crew members chosen to take part in various legs ofGipsy Moth IVglobal voyage, which will start on 25 September 2005. UKSA Chief Executive David Green was struck by the way the Duke took time to speak to both the young people who will sail the boat and the Camper & Nicholson shipwrights who restored her.

Green went on to take Prince Philip on a tour of the yacht and the UKSA boatyard. Apparently the Duke was “surprised and delighted with the restoration of theGipsy Moth, especially the fact that 87 per cent is exactly as it was when Sir Francis Chichester set sail for his voyage in August 1966. He doubled the length of his visit today since his own boatBloodhoundwas built in the same yard asGipsy MothIV.”